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DNR invasive species staff

Report invasive species

We are working to keep invasive species out of Wisconsin. Early reports of new populations allow us to respond rapidly and control invasives before they spread into new areas. Select from the tabs below to report invasive species you have found.

Aquatic, Shoreline and Wetland

What should I do if I find an aquatic, shoreline or wetland invasive species?

Check to see if the suspected invasive species has been previously reported on that waterbody or wetland. Search by waterbody or by species. Or, for a mapping tool and instructions, click here. If the invasive species is not known to occur in the waterbody or wetland where you found it, report it to your Regional DNR Aquatic Invasive Species Coordinator by following the steps below. Report every suspected wetland invasive species not associated with a waterbody, except reed canary grass (unless the latter is a new, small stand adjacent to an un-infested, natural wetland).

If it’s a new plant or animal other than a fish
If it’s a new fish
If it’s already known to be in the waterbody or wetland

If it is a plant:

  • Take a digital photo(s) of the plant in the setting where it was found. Using a camera or smartphone, try to capture details such as flowers, leaf shape, leaf and stem arrangement, and fruits. Include a common object in the photo such as a dollar bill, coin or pencil for a size scale, or stand next to tall plants.
  • If possible, collect 5 – 10 intact specimens to ensure precise identification. Try to get the root system and all leaves, as well as seed heads and flowers when present. Place in a ziplock bag with a damp paper towel. Place on ice and store in a refrigerator as soon as possible.
  • Note the location of the plant you found. If you do not have a GPS device, you can visit www.google.com/maps [exit DNR] to find the precise location on the online map. Click on the location and view the text box at the bottom of the screen to find the coordinates. If using a GPS device, please note the datum being used (e.g. WGS 84 (preferred), UTM, WI Transverse Mercator, etc.).
  • Best is to fill out form 3200-125 - Aquatic Invasive Plant Incident Report, and deliver it, your photo(s), and specimens to your Regional DNR Aquatic Invasive Species Coordinator. Please do this as soon as possible – no later than 4 days after you discover the plant if you have plant specimens.
  • Second best is to report your suspected species, even if you have no photos or specimens! Such reports will take more time to confirm species ID, but are still valuable. Include your name, address, phone #, suspected species name and its location as exactly as you can. Try hard to include photos if at all possible (digital photos are email able!)

If it is an animal other than a fish:

  • If possible, take a digital photo of the animal in the setting where it was found. Using a camera or smartphone, try to capture as much detail as you can.
  • Collect up to five specimens. Place in a jar with water. Place on ice and transport to refrigerator. Transfer specimens to a jar filled with rubbing alcohol (except for Jellyfish – leave in water).
  • Note the location of the plant you found. If you do not have a GPS device, you can visit www.google.com/maps [exit DNR] to find the precise location on the online map. Click on the location and view t
  • he text box at the bottom of the screen to find the coordinates. If using a GPS device, please note the datum being used (e.g. WGS 84, UTM, WI Transverse Mercator, etc.).
  • Fill out form 3200-126 – Aquatic Invasive Animal Incident Report
  • Deliver the specimens, report and photo to your Regional DNR Aquatic Invasive Species Coordinator. Please do this as soon as possible - no later than 4 days after you discover the animal.

If it is a fish, contact your local fish biologist.

If you think you have caught a diseased fish, follow these steps.

If the invasive species is already known to occur in the waterbody, or you know it has been reported in the wetland, thanks for keeping an eye out for our lakes, streams and wetlands! No incident report is needed at this time. (If you think recent changes in the species warrant special concern, such as a drastic increase in area infested, increased threat to rare species, sensitive areas, etc., please call your Regional Coordinator to discuss.)

Thank you for taking the time to help report invasives. If you would like to learn more about aquatic invasive species, please visit the following websites.

Terrestrial

Terrestrial plants

Reporting instructions

Check photos and descriptions on the website to help narrow the possibilities for plant identity. Be sure to include notes about site location and description, population size and control actions taken, if any.

  • Complete the Invasive Plant Report Form [PDF] to report occurrences of invasive plants growing in Wisconsin or near state borders. Please use one form for each sample.
    • If you prefer to use GPS (global positioning system) but do not have a GPS device, you can visit itouchmap.com [exit DNR] to find the precise location on a digital topographic map.
    • If using a GPS device, please note the datum being used (e.g. WGS 84, UTM, WI Transverse Mercator, etc).
    • Enclose form with your identification evidence: photographs, pressed plant specimens, or fresh specimens. See below for guidelines on each method.
  • Send to the Wisconsin DNR. Use address on form or submit by email.

Guidelines for identification evidence

  • Photographs. Use either film or a digital camera, and try to capture the maximum number of details. Focus on flowers, leaf shape, leaf & stem arrangement, and fruits. For a size scale, be sure to include a pencil, dollar bill, coin, or other object of a standard size. For giant hogweed, have a person stand near – but not touching! – the plant. Send by email or US mail (address below).
  • Fresh specimens. Diagnostic samples of the plant especially flowers, fruits, stem section with leaves or whole plants can be sent by US mail. Package with a moist paper towel in a sealed plastic bag. Keep cool until mailing and send as soon as possible.
  • Pressed and dried specimens. To make pressed specimens, visit the UW-Green Bay Cofrin Center for Biodiversity [exit DNR]. If you have a plant press or can make one, press plants providing as many plant structures as possible. Enclose the specimens – each in a newspaper sleeve – between two stiff cardboard sheets and send by US mail.

The Wisconsin Invasive Plants Reporting & Prevention Project is an Early Detection and Strategic Response initiative co-sponsored by the DNR and the Wisconsin State Herbarium, along with the cooperation of many organizations and individuals.

Send reporting form via email by using the "Submit by Email" button on the form.

Send specimen and reporting form to:

Wisconsin DNR
Invasive Plants Project - ER/6
P.O. Box 7921
Madison, WI 53707-7921

Plant pests & diseases

Visit the Forest Health site if you have trees that appear sick.

Check out the UW-Madison, Department of Entomology [exit DNR] to identify insects, both native and non-native. And visit the Insect Diagnostic Lab [exit DNR]to find instructions on how to send insect specimens.

To report emerald ash borer or gypsy moth, visit the appropriate DATCP site below:

Other terrestrial invertebrates listed under Chapter NR 40 can be reported by sending an email to Invasive.Species@wi.gov.

Vertebrates

Report any Prohibited or Restricted wildlife from Chapter NR 40 by sending an email to Invasive.Species@wi.gov

NR40 species

To report a Chapter NR40 regulated species or rule violation, please contact Tara Bergeson, Conservation biologist.

Last revised: Thursday September 14 2017